Itís obvious right from the get-go that GOING THE DISTANCE is going for something far different than any recent big-studio rom-coms, with this embracing an R-rating, and featuring lots of risquť humor. In a way, it seemed like this was trying to do for rom-coms what THE HANGOVER did for guy comedies. While itís not quite a slam-dunk, itís a hell of a lot better than the recent Heigl opus, THE UGLY TRUTH (btw- I hate Katherine Heigl, have I made that clear yet?) which tried to do the same thing and failed miserably.
The key to GOING THE DISTANCEís minor success is the fact that Long and Barrymore, whoíve been on-again, off-again in real life, have got genuine chemistry. This is especially evident in a sweet scene early in the film where they discuss favorite album, which seems to have been shot and improvised on the fly.
Also helping is the fact that the great Charlie Day of ITíS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA has a major role as Longís roommate, and best bud- along with Jason Sudeikis. The two of them play beautifully off each other, and thanks to the R-Rating, Day isnít toned down too much. An early scene where he DJís Longís hook up with some Berlin and Bill Medley is quite funny, as is Barrymoreís reaction.
The film loses a bit of momentum after the first half hour, where we actually settle into the plot of the two trying to make their long distance thing work, as I liked the film more when it was just a straight-forward NY romance. Still, itís better than youíd think judging from the trailers and the shitty critical reaction it got. It doesnít reinvent the wheel, but itís pleasant enough, and a rare rom-com that wonít have guys bolting for the exit ten minutes in.